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Linehan has chance to repay the Rams for unusual loyalty

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  • Linehan has chance to repay the Rams for unusual loyalty

    By Bernie Miklasz
    Thursday, Jan. 03 2008

    I hope Scott Linehan realizes how rare it is to receive the kind of support and
    loyalty being shown to him by Rams management.

    Coaches are getting fired all over the NFL. I don't have the time or the column
    space to list all of the dismissals, but guys who have established much better
    credentials than Linehan are being kicked out of the building.

    After one ugly season in which injuries were a major factor, Baltimore fired
    head coach Brian Billick. He won a Super Bowl for the franchise this decade and
    was 13-3 in 2006. Kansas City just swept out four assistants, including Mike
    Solari, who had built one of the top offensive lines in the NFL.

    The Detroit Lions made a scapegoat of offensive coordinator Mike Martz. Never
    mind that the Lions defense allowed 32 points a game during a 1-7 collapse to
    end this season; head coach Rod Marinelli sacked Martz. Why not fire the
    defensive coordinator? It seems that the defensive coordinator is uniquely
    qualified: He's Marinelli's son-in-law.

    In this tableau of change, Linehan survives. He wasn't the next Rich Brooks or
    even Bob Hollway previous St. Louis NFL head coaches who were gone after only
    two dismal seasons on the job.

    Team President John Shaw and general manager Jay Zygmunt are standing by their
    man and taking a beating from an angry fan mob. The popularity of Shaw and
    Zygmunt has never been lower than it is right now.

    Can Linehan pay back that loyalty?

    "I've got to do a much better job," Linehan said Wednesday in a conference
    call. "I'm evaluating myself first. I've got a lot of things I have to do a
    better job of. I've never, ever dodged that responsibility. It goes with the
    territory. I accept it. I understand it has to be a lot better. I'm not going
    to continue to do things the same way. If you do that, I've always believed
    there is a good chance you will get the same result. I've got to make a number
    of adjustments."

    I want to believe Linehan.

    So let's throw it down:

    Does Linehan have the innate ability to lead? You can't fake leadership; it
    comes naturally. But making changes in one's personality can lead to improved
    leadership; Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel has demonstrated that.

    Is Linehan willing to welcome important veterans into the loop, accept some
    of their advice, and show respect? First order of business: schedule lengthy
    dinners with quarterback Marc Bulger, wide receivers Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce
    and running back Steven Jackson. Ask them to be brutally honest in their
    criticisms of his work. It is especially imperative for Linehan to improve his
    relationship with Bulger. I don't care how either man tries to spin it; this
    coach-QB partnership has soured.

    Can Linehan bring himself to fire his pals and hire better assistants? And if
    so, what is he waiting for? Let's go. Other teams are starting to usher
    assistants out, so why are the Rams wasting time? I know that Linehan has a
    meaningful meeting coming up with Shaw next week, but this is an example of
    what I'm talking about. I don't understand the delay, the procrastination. Have
    the summit meeting this week, and get busy.

    Is Linehan unselfish enough to step aside so a legitimate personnel expert
    can oversee the draft with real authority? Can Linehan accept a secondary role?
    And by the way, if Shaw is inclined to hand the draft over to team consultant
    Tom Donahoe, it's not a bad decision. Donahoe was largely a failure as the GM
    at Buffalo, but before that, his drafts at Pittsburgh were brilliant. Is
    Donahoe the ideal solution? No. Is he a better draft evaluator than everyone
    else at Rams Park? Yes.

    Linehan is on the clock. Starting now, he'll be graded for 2008. He's promised
    to change and must deliver with actions instead of words. Rams fans won't be
    fooled. And if Linehan wants to win the fans over, the worst thing he can do is
    lie to them.

  • #2
    Re: Linehan has chance to repay the Rams for unusual loyalty

    Linehan is on the clock. Starting now, he'll be graded for 2008. He's promised to change and must deliver with actions instead of words. Rams fans won't be fooled. And if Linehan wants to win the fans over, the worst thing he can do is lie to them.

    That's the STL mentality right now in a nutshell. Fair or unfair, injuries or bad luck, slow starts or lack of execution, Linehan is on the clock RIGHT NOW. He has to win. He has to make the playoffs or he's gone after 2008,


    • #3
      Re: Linehan has chance to repay the Rams for unusual loyalty

      In fairness to Linehan, the fact that he has publicly called himself out is a good sign. It tells me that he is not so prideful and arrogant that he won't do the right thing even if it brings him down a notch in his own eyes.

      I have more concerns with the FO. Except for the Super Bowl and the few years after, Shaw and Ziggy have been dismal failures at managing the franchise. I think their arrogance and hubris is the big picture problem and as long as they are in control the Rams will be hit and miss. The long term solution is a new owner with football instincts.
      "People with courage and character always seem sinister to the rest" Herman Hesse


      • #4
        Re: Linehan has chance to repay the Rams for unusual loyalty

        Originally posted by Chris58 View Post
        In fairness to Linehan, the fact that he has publicly called himself out is a good sign. It tells me that he is not so prideful and arrogant that he won't do the right thing even if it brings him down a notch in his own eyes.

        I have more concerns with the FO. Except for the Super Bowl and the few years after, Shaw and Ziggy have been dismal failures at managing the franchise. I think their arrogance and hubris is the big picture problem and as long as they are in control the Rams will be hit and miss. The long term solution is a new owner with football instincts.
        he has taken a good first step by calling himself out,but now he has to follow through with it,you can talk a good game but then you need to back it up, I am willing to give him that shot because if he does turn this around and become successful then the Rams will be winning and thats a good thing for him and all of stated before he is getting a shot that many other coaches do not,so take advantage of it Linehan.


        • #5
          Re: Linehan has chance to repay the Rams for unusual loyalty

          Anyone who thinks the Rams' front office is showing "loyalty" to Linehan by not sacking him is truly deluding themselves. Although the volume of injuries was a major extenuating circumstance, it is not what saved Linehan's bacon. Loyalty has never been a trademark of this organization.

          This team will go through a change in ownership at some point in the offseason, and the front office is not going to go through the pain of searching for a new coaching staff when they know they will not be around much longer and any new owner will want to bring in their own people who will hire their own coaching staff.

          Shaw and Zygmunt will have their hands full in the coming months (or will be unemployed), that is what saved Linehan's job.

          Look for Linehan to be unemployed by the end of next season.... barring, of course, a trip deep into the playoffs.
          Clannie Nominee for ClanRam's Thickest Poster


          • #6
            Re: Linehan has chance to repay the Rams for unusual loyalty

            I wouldnt even say deep into the play offs. As long as we are over a .500 season, itll be improvement from his past 2 attempts.

            Though it may not be the improvement us as fans are looking for, itll be improvement, and the office will give him one more chance. Even if its a wildcard run like we had a few years ago when we beat Seattle then got stomped on by Atlanta.

            We've had the same problem for years, our defense. If Linehan wants to put his trust in his veteran players and his assitants, we could be a team like Green Bay to rise from the ashes and take charge in the NFC. Even the NFL.


            Related Topics


            • RamWraith
              Linehan takes hard look at himself
              by RamWraith
              By Jim Thomas
              Tuesday, Jan. 01 2008

              There will be coaching staff changes and numerous player changes in the weeks
              and months to come. But before going there, Rams coach Scott Linehan is
              starting his evaluation process by looking in the mirror.

              "I'm actually spending this week really putting a lot of thought into
              evaluating the season, starting with myself to be honest with you," Linehan
              said. "Looking at the things that I've got to change first, before we start
              talking about the staff and the personnel on our team. If I can come to terms
              with that first, I think I can make much better decisions (on everything else)."

              With the dust barely settled on a 3-13 season, Linehan already has come to one
              key conclusion on Linehan. Namely, he has to do a better job of handling

              "I personally was devastated by the way we started the season," Linehan said.
              "I didn't want to admit it, or tried not to show it. And I'm not going to say
              the first four games or eight games; I'm talking about the first couple (games).

              "If you go into a season, and you drop your first game or first two games, if
              you're feeling that disappointment or whatever, it sometimes may affect you."

              After squandering second-half leads in home losses to Carolina and San
              Francisco to start the season, Linehan believes he started pressing.

              "And it showed up in maybe how I coached, how we played and performed," Linehan
              said. "Hopefully, I've learned that lesson, and won't do that again. ... You've
              really got to put those (tough losses) to bed as quick as possible, and move on
              and get yourself ready to go with a whole fresh approach."

              But Linehan realizes he can't sit around all month in self-reflection. The
              annual West Coast summit meeting with team president John Shaw and president of
              football operations-general manager Jay Zygmunt will take place sometime in

              The Senior Bowl is in late January, and because the Rams finished with the
              worst record in the NFC, Linehan and his staff probably will be asked to coach
              one of the squads of NFL draft prospects all week leading up to the all-star

              "I'm not opposed to that," Linehan said. "Certainly with the high pick we have
              this year, it can be very valuable."

              The Rams have the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. The Senior Bowl also is a
              job fair for assistant coaches looking for jobs, and head coaches looking for

              Does Linehan foresee many changes on his coaching staff?

              "I don't know," Linehan said. "There possibly could be a change...
              -01-01-2008, 06:10 AM
            • RamWraith
              Energy, spirit help Linehan score a victory
              by RamWraith
              By Bernie Miklasz

              The morning began with Scott Linehan walking into the main auditorium at Rams Park to address the team's noncoaching, nonplaying employees. On his first day on the job, Linehan wanted to reach out to everyone who works for the Rams.

              "Everyone in this room, at some point this year, will be the most important person in this organization," Linehan told the staffers. He mentioned a variety of jobs, from the person who fixes the coaches' headsets on Sunday to the crew that keeps the building tidy.

              Understand that no one gathered in that room will ever run for a first down, make a block, throw a deep pass, cause a fumble, make a spectacular catch, leap for an interception or kick a field goal.

              That's OK with Linehan.

              Coach wants everyone on his squad.

              Linehan told the staffers they were vital to the overall performance of the franchise. He told them he needed their support. He vowed to learn each of their names. At one point, he talked about how happy he was to get this opportunity, and was briefly overcome by emotion. And Linehan got choked up later, when he spoke of fulfilling the dream of becoming an NFL head coach.

              And as the staffers filed out of the auditorium, Linehan offered a greeting and a handshake.

              Dick Vermeil's kind of guy, this Linehan.

              Friday, the Rams' new head coach breezed into Rams Park, as fresh and brisk as a sunny winter morning. We do not know how many games Linehan will win, and we do not know whether he can make a successful transition from coordinator to head coach, and we do not know whether his radiant optimism will fade. This moment, for this situation, Linehan's enthusiasm and genuine personality were exactly what the Rams needed.

              It has been a sad, depressing 12 months at Rams Park. The 2004 Rams were blown away in a playoff loss in Atlanta last January. The relationship between head coach Mike Martz and team management splintered and collapsed. Martz got sick and had to be hospitalized with a bacterial infection of a heart valve. And even then, the bickering did not cease. The Rams were 2-3 when Martz departed, and injuries ravaged the roster. The Rams couldn't cope, fell apart and finished 6-10.

              And worst of all, Jack Snow died Jan. 9.

              "It's been a tough time, just brutal," team president John Shaw said. "We've all felt battered in some way."

              Linehan apparently is a quick study with sharp instincts. He was fully aware of the recent history and knew he had to change the vibe. From his first hour on the job, Linehan stressed a theme of unity and togetherness. He obviously wanted to send this instant message: The infighting, the politicking, is over.

              "The one thing I want to make sure is really established right...
              -01-21-2006, 07:16 AM
            • RamWraith
              Linehan will be on hot seat in LA
              by RamWraith
              By Jim Thomas
              Sunday, Jan. 13 2008

              Starting Monday, a meeting of the minds takes place in Los Angeles in the Rams'
              annual West Coast summit meetings.

              Team president John Shaw, president of football operations-general manager Jay
              Zygmunt and coach Scott Linehan will review the just completed Rams season and
              begin mapping out the offseason. Dale "Chip" Rosenbloom, the son of ailing
              owner Georgia Frontiere, is expected to participate in some of the meetings.

              "I'm looking forward to it," Linehan said Friday.

              It remains to be seen whether Linehan will feel the same way a week from now.
              The Rams conduct their summit meetings a couple of weeks after every season,
              through good times and bad. But they can be grueling affairs for a coach on the
              hot seat.

              Injuries or not, Linehan will have lots of questions to answer after a 3-13
              season. Shaw and Zygmunt will want Linehan's slant on what went wrong this
              season. Why did the offense struggle? Why did the defense take a nose dive late
              in the year? Why can't the Rams cover a kick?

              Shaw is aware of the grumbling by several Rams veterans about Linehan and the
              team's stagnant offense. And he's aware that it goes much deeper than an eye
              roll on the sidelines, or an emotional outburst caught on camera.

              One team source said more than one informal players-only meeting took place
              behind closed doors over the final few weeks of the season to air gripes about
              Linehan. In addition, several players were upset that Linehan didn't fly back
              with the team from Arizona, yet still called a mandatory team meeting that
              Monday at Rams Park.

              Several players skipped the meeting, which was reminiscent of the 1998 finale
              in San Francisco when several Rams either didn't fly back with the squad or
              skipped Dick Vermeil's final team meeting that Monday.

              (Linehan flew directly from Arizona to visit his 85-year-old mother in
              Washington. Linehan figured it would be the only time he could have his entire
              family see her at least until late June because his children were still on
              Christmas break.)

              So there almost certainly will be questions about Linehan's relationship with
              quarterback Marc Bulger, wide receiver Torry Holt and other veterans. There may
              also be more general queries about Linehan's ability to lead the team.

              To this day, Vermeil still grimaces at the thought of his summit meetings with
              Rams brass. The meeting after a 4-12 finish in 1998 has taken on near-legendary
              proportions. As the story goes, Vermeil wanted Mike White as his offensive
              coordinator and Jeff Hostetler as his quarterback. He got Mike Martz and Trent
              Green instead,...
              -01-13-2008, 06:29 AM
            • RamWraith
              Believe it: Linehan is at Martz's level
              by RamWraith
              By Bernie Miklasz
              Wednesday, Jan. 18 2006

              In 2002, young Minnesota offensive coordinator Scott Linehan received glowing
              praise for his creative work with the Vikings' attack.

              Quarterback Daunte Culpepper called Linehan "a godsend."

              Wideout Randy Moss, in a reversal of his usual unhappiness, declared, "I love
              Linehan. He knows his stuff."

              Linehan deflected the praise.

              "That's very nice of the players," Linehan said at the time. "But I don't even
              begin to say that I'm in any league with guys like Mike Martz."

              Now, less than four years later, Linehan can say he is in Martz's league,
              especially if, as expected, he is appointed to succeed Martz as the Rams' head
              coach. Linehan, who served as the Miami Dolphins' coordinator for the 2005
              season, only needs to pick up the endorsement of Rams owner Georgia Frontiere,
              and the job is his.

              If Rams president John Shaw closes the deal to make Linehan the team's fourth
              full-time head coach since moving to St. Louis in 1995, what will Linehan bring
              to Rams Park?

              By all accounts, Linehan has a brilliant mind for offense. He got tremendous
              production from a splendidly talented crew in Minnesota, but he also squeezed
              the most from a moderately talented offense in Miami.

              Linehan is creative in the passing game, so much that Culpepper openly
              acknowledged a drop-off in his QB performance when Linehan left the Vikings to
              go to Miami. But Linehan is no one-dimensional pass master. He likes to rely on
              the Joe Gibbs system of offense, which includes powering up with two tight ends
              in a dedicated mission to run the football.

              But a clever Linehan also likes to bedevil defenses by running the ball out of
              passing formations. He spreads the field with wideouts, loosens the defensive
              alignments, and then slams the ball inside. (It's easy to imagine Steven
              Jackson doing a lot of damage in this style of offense.)

              "You have got to be able to run the football to be successful at any level,"
              Linehan said last year. "I love to throw, but if you can't run the football,
              you're stuck."

              Expanding beyond his fondness for offense, Linehan has a vision for the entire
              team. This is no offensive coordinator wearing a head coach's headset and
              disguise. Linehan made this clear in his first round of interviews with Shaw
              and Rams director of football operations Jay Zygmunt. He showed up with
              detailed opinions on what the Rams were doing wrong, what they needed to do

              Linehan stressed the need to revamp the defense, vowed emphatically that
              defense and special teams would be...
              -01-19-2006, 06:11 AM
            • RamWraith
              Linehan faces simple choice: either change or lose his job
              by RamWraith
              By Bernie Miklasz
              Monday, Dec. 24 2007

              Rams fans can shout out, threaten to cancel season tickets, boo John Shaw, or
              vow to never enter the Edward Jones Dome again.

              Scott Linehan will be back as the head coach in 2008.

              This is the reality.

              So let's look ahead and ask an important question: Can Linehan turn things

              Well, anything is possible. Dick Vermeil proved that, winning a Super Bowl in
              1999 after going 9-23 in his first two seasons.

              I'm not saying Linehan is Vermeil. DV was (and is) a natural-born leader.
              Vermeil was rusty after a long sabbatical but recognized the need to make
              crucial changes before this third season, and he found a winning formula. And
              now Linehan must try to do the same, or he's done.

              If Linehan wants to save himself beyond next season, here are a few things he
              must do to rescue his career:

              CULTIVATE VETERANS It's obvious that Linehan has lost the respect of players on
              the offensive side of the football. He's to blame for much of that by
              frequently dismissing their suggestions and keeping them out of the loop. Rams
              quarterbacks and receivers have tried, during games, to approach Linehan with
              their ideas on attacking a defense. But Linehan's attitude can best be
              described this way: You play, and I'll coach.

              The arrogance is remarkable for a novice who has lost 19 of his last 26 games.
              The best NFL coaches and baseball managers are in synch with their players;
              they want feedback, they want to keep the communication pipeline open, they
              want the veterans to take ownership of the team mission.

              Sunday, in an interview with CBS, New England coach Bill Belichick said he and
              other coaches always listen to suggestions made by Randy Moss. And yet Linehan
              won't listen to Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce? Preposterous.

              I saw Vermeil effectively reach out to players before 1999. I saw Cardinals
              manager Tony La Russa lose the clubhouse late in 2003, then respond by setting
              up a players' committee for 2004, so he could address their concerns. If
              Vermeil and La Russa can do it, it's preposterous for Linehan to continue
              alienating players who will make or break him. Listening to your men isn't a
              sign of weakness; it's a sign of strength.

              STAFF CHANGES Linehan must rectify the embarrassment that is the special teams,
              and he clearly needs some fresh concepts on the offensive side. And this team
              has to examine its strength and conditioning program to see if it's a factor in
              all of these injuries.

              NO MORE "FOSLS" AT RAMS PARK What is a FOSL? That's short for Friends Of Scott
              -12-24-2007, 10:26 AM